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CARLISLE, PA – A Pennsylvania man died Thursday when he smashed his van into a tractor trailer truck on Interstate 81 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The accident happened in Carlisle-Middlesex Township, PA. The region is in the south-central section of the state, 190 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA and 123 miles west of Philadelphia, PA.

The force of the head-on crash ripped apart a van on Interstate 81. Jason Malmont/The Sentinel

At around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 50 year old Bradley Thomas of Pottstown, PA was driving a red Ford van, traveling south on Interstate 81. Shortly after he passed exit 52, Mr. Thomas reportedly began to drive erratically on the highway. He drove through the grassy median that separated the highway and into the northbound lanes…

Mr. Thomas’ van smashed into the driver’s side of the cab of a tractor trailer that was driving north on I-81. The trailer that the truck was hauling lost its two rear axles in the collision, and caused the semi truck to go out of control. The tractor trailer spun around, jack-knifed, and finally came to a stop in the grassy median facing south.

The truck accident destroyed the Ford van and broke it into several pieces. The van pieces were strewn around the collision scene as well as the apparent contents of the van which included tools and other work gear.

A Cumberland Medical Services unit was traveling south on I-81 in the vicinity of the truck accident and was the first to arrive on the scene and give treatment.  Two additional units of CMS arrived and assisted in the care to the van driver Mr. Thomas. The victim was then airlifted by Life Lion to nearby Carlisle Regional Medical Center with severe injuries. Mr. Thomas later died at the hospital from what was described as “multiple traumatic injuries”.


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The truck driver, who was not identified by police, did not suffer injuries in the truck collision.

The semi truck accident had a major impact on traffic in the area. Pennsylvania State Police closed both directions of I-81 after the crash for clean-up and traffic was brought to a standstill. The truck accident also affected the city of Carlisle where traffic was stalled on High Street.

The southbound lanes of I-81 reopened after a short time but the northbound lanes remained closed for the entire afternoon. Drivers were being diverted off I-81 at Exit 52, directed to Route 11, and rerouted back on I-81 at the Exit 57 point. The police finally opened the north lanes at around 5:22 p.m. Thursday evening.


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Officers from the PA State Police and the Carlisle Police assisted at the truck accident scene and in traffic control. Numerous Fire departments responded to the scene including teams from Carlisle, New Kingston, and Silver Spring Township.

Authorities do not yet know the reason the van driver lost control and crashed into the tractor trailer. The truck accident remains under investigation by the PA State Police and the Cumberland County Coroner’s Office.

No charges or citations have been filed at this time.

Gordon & Elias, nationwide tractor trailer injury attorneys, represent Pennsylvania residents who have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a truck accident. For more information about Pennsylvania truckng laws, contact us at 1.800.773.6770.

Related searches:
Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer
Philadelphia truck accident attorney

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